In his first remarks following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, U.S. national team coach Gregg Berhalter termed the day "low point for us" as a country and said "there's a lot of room to improve."
In response to a question on a media call with U.S. press on Monday, Berhalter said he had not yet spoken with his players about the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died on Jan. 6. A second Capitol police officer committed suicide three days later.
Players on the men's senior and under-23 national teams gathered in Bradenton, Florida, on Saturday. Monday was the first full day of training following the completion of COVID-19 protocols.
"The way I see this is, this is a low point for us," he said. "There's a lot of room to improve as a country, and it is something where we can all be better examples, we can all be better citizens. When you're watching [the riot], you know it doesn't jive at all with what we know as America to be. It's not who we are as a country, and it's disappointing to see, but all we can do is be good examples and continue our efforts in trying to make change."
Berhalter's message to his team: "Our work isn't done just because the year changed, and we need to keep going and persevere."
U.S. men's national team players adopted the slogan "Be the Change," wearing jerseys with that message during the playing of the national anthem before friendlies against Wales and Panama in November, the team's first matches in 10 months and first since the killing of George Floyd in May sparked widespread protests.
On Monday, U.S. forward Jordan Morris said "Be the Change" is the message national team players will continue to send.
"I think obviously we all realized how horrific those events were, and we all understand that there's a need for change in this country and in a lot of ways," he said. "I think the big thing for us, and what I've talked to guys about a little bit is hopefully our goal as a national team is to be a positive representation of what that change can be, and how we need to move forward. I think it's also in these hard times, we hope to be, as a team, a positive light because I know that these times are super challenging and there's so much going on, so much stress."